Find Your Best Customers Using Retargeting Ads

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Think back to when you created your business’ marketing funnel. More specifically, I’d like you to remember when you had to define who exactly you were trying to help with your business.  

When I think about it, I remember it being a frustrating process. Sure, I had an idea of who to sell my services to…but I was missing so much vital data! How was I supposed to know who would be my best audience to target?

I read industry reports, analyzed my competitors’ approaches, spoke with “people in the know”, but all that just doesn’t give the certainty people like me are looking for. How would I know I picked the right audience to sell my services to?

Businesses with large startup resources can solve this problem with surveys, focus groups, data mining, and more. While there are ways that bootstrapped entrepreneurs can do similar tests, there’s a lesson that large and small businesses always learn, nothing beats the real thing. Focus groups can be wrong, surveys can be misleading, and all the other tests are simply educated guesses. Going out and selling your product to real people in the marketplace is the only way to get the data you’ll need to know who your best customers are.

Buried in that lesson is the purpose and power of retargeting. The whole reason retargeting exists is to provide 2 solutions:

  1. To provide the flexibility in your campaigns to harnesses targeting data you don’t have yet.
  2. To tailor your campaign to resonate with the right person at the right stage of their decision-making process.

When used well, retargeting can revolutionize a business’ marketing results. Unfortunately, many of the local businesses I meet with aren’t aware of the power of retargeting advertising. And if they happen to already use retargeting techniques, it’s terribly underutilized. The true power of retargeting goes way beyond simply redelivering ads to landing page visitors. I’ll use an example to illustrate what I mean.

Rachel has owned and operated HealthyWhey, her online holistic nutrition centre for almost 2 years. Rachel learned early on that social media would be vital to the growth of her business, so she reads and follows the social media advice she finds online. HealthyWhey has an account on Facebook and Instagram, and here is what Rachel has focused on so far: 

  • Sharing consistent and informative video posts and stories on popular topics like weight loss, chronic illness management, and healthy recipes.
  • They’ve created 4 high-quality ebook download funnels, 1 webinar funnel, and several helpful blog posts (that lead to these funnels).
  • They’ve also created a newsletter for HealthyWhey’s clients and prospects to keep them up to date and engaged.

The frustrating thing for Rachel is that, despite all of her hard work, she isn’t getting the results she needs! Her video has been seen only 182 times, she’s had 2 ebook downloads in the past 4 months, and her email list is growing at a snail’s pace. And let’s not forget that the bottom line here is that Rachel is doing this to grow HealthyWhey. All of her time has been spent here with no real growth in her business.

Rachel is has decided to use online advertising to help get her business and content in front of more of the right people. And to maximize her return on advertising costs, she’s selected Facebook and Instagram marketing.

Option #1

Rachel decides on a new offer, so it’s time to build out an advertising campaign. During this process, she’s faced with having to specify the group of people that she wants to display her ads to. In Option #1, Rachel doesn’t consider (or know about) retargeting. She will simply target one large group of people that she feels are HealthyWhey’s ideal customers.

Rachel believes her best audience is made up of people that are “30 – 55 years old, single, identify as women, with interests in healthy eating and yoga, and lives in Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal, or Ottawa”. This sounds pretty specific, right? There are actually 70,000-80,000 people that fit this criteria (at the time of this writing).

With Option #1, Rachel will be driving traffic towards HealthyWhey’s videos, newsletter, ebooks, webinar funnels, and to a consultation booking form. All of this will be marketed to their “best audience” of 70,000 – 80,000 people, treating them as a monolithic group of identical people. Each campaign would have its own focus (e.g. increase video views, new consultations, etc), so there would be 1 ad being delivered to the entire group of people, all at the same time.

I call this a “hope and wish” method of advertising. In this scenario, HealthyWhey would be hoping that the ad in each campaign will be enough to persuade these people to take action. And if it doesn’t, they’re just going to be shown the ad again several times. The ad won’t take into account that the person may be at a different point in the buying process. Maybe they need more information, not a discount. Maybe they need a discount, not an introduction to HealthyWhey. Repeatedly showing a person the same irrelevant ad is a quick way to get them to ignore or avoid your business.

With Option #1, Rachel would be hoping that this “treat all prospects the same” approach would get results. And some people would take action. HealthyWhey would see an increase in consultation requests, newsletter subscribers, video views, downloads, etc.

This approach would get some success, but would also be very inefficient (i.e. leaving lots of opportunity on the table!) for 3 reasons:

  1. Most people don’t take an action (like booking a consultation call) the very first time they encounter a business’ website or ad.
  2. HealthyWhey just approached 70,000-80,000 people as if they are all at the same point in the decision process.
  3. They assumed that the group of people they’ve identified as their “best customer” truly is the best group to target with these campaigns…
Option #2

This article has (hopefully) been very leading so far. I hope you can see that Option #1 is not the way to be effective with your advertising. Option #2 is better. Much better.

With this better approach, we’ll be letting people tell us whether we should be targeting them and how (as opposed to guessing like Rachel did in Option #1). With this info, we’ll know where and how to focus our efforts.

How do we get our audience to identify themselves as our most engaging and profitable clients? We’ll do this by using the concept of retargeting and Facebook Ads.

In this scenario, we’ll create separate ad campaigns for each of HealthyWhey’s goals (e.g. increasing video views, more downloads of the ebooks and webinar funnels, more consultation requests, etc.) This time however, we’ll use the data we collect through Facebook to help us create the best audiences to market to, wherever they are in their decision-making process. Here are a few steps that we can take:

  • We’ll use HealthyWhey’s customer data (contained in their CRM) to create a new audience of people that are very similar to HealthyWhey’s most profitable customers. This is still a “cold audience” because they haven’t engaged with HealthyWhey yet, but we know they share many similar attributes to their most profitable clients. We’ll drive thousands of people to watch Healthy Whey’s videos. Then we’ll create an audience of people that watched 50% + of these videos. This audience would be a “warm audience” because they’re familiar with HealthyWhey, their content, and their offer (if it was shared in the video). As a side note, if there are a few disparate videos that can be used as ads, then each video be used to create its own audience.
  • We’ll also tweak HealthyWhey’s newsletter to group new subscribers based on their main interests (e.g. performance, weight loss, medical). Each of these “subgroups” within the newsletter email list will be used to build an audience within Facebook Ads for future use. These audiences will be considered very warm because they’ve taken the action of subscribing to the newsletter. 
  • Create an audience out of visitors of our landing page. We’ll use the HealthyWhey website and consultation landing page to track where people are in their decision process. We can then group them as separate audiences and follow up with them appropriately using ads.

With these relatively simple changes, we can do the following things:

  • Rather than trying to advertise to one large, cold audience and hoping they’ll click to visit the HealthyWhey website and hoping they’ll request a consultation, we will advertise to the warmer audiences we’ve developed. We’d earn a higher number of consultations (or less expensive consultations) by advertising to a group of people that have interacted with HealthyWhey before.
  • Target people that have watched a few of HealthWhey’s videos with a campaign to subscribe to their newsletter or to offer a consult.
  • Target newsletter subscribers based on their main interests/goals and show them the HealthyWhey ebook downloads or webinar they could benefit most from.
  • Start a conversation with people that have visited the HealthyWhey landing page but didn’t request a consultation.
  • Advertise the services that people were looking at when they visited the HealthyWhey website.
  • Deliver special offers to people that have visited HealthyWhey’s checkout page, but didn’t complete their purchase.

There is a lot more that can be done when you have a retargeting mindset, but the above examples alone will greatly increase the efficiency of HealthyWhey’s advertising. By utilizing the concept of retargeting, Rachel would be able to advertise the right offer to the right people at the right time. Think of how a good salesperson will tailor their pitch to fit their audience, HealthyWhey’s marketing would do something very similar. This allows for HealthyWhey to graduate people through a marketing funnel step by step.

Setting up the infrastructure to track who’s visiting what pages, how to filter newsletter subscribers, and setting up the advertising itself takes time and effort. But you don’t get to slack once once it’s set up! A good digital marketing funnel requires observation, testing, optimizing, and corrections.

Hopefully, Rachel would choose Option #2 and use the data available to her business to efficiently deliver her message to the right people. Her sales would grow and she would be much more enthusiastic about spending more on advertising. For a real-life example of what happens when a business goes for “Option #2” click here.

Look at it this way, the data you need to greatly improve your advertising (and therefore your sales) is available to you. Will you take advantage of that?

Eden Choubeta

Eden Choubeta

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